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How To Negotiate Your Salary with This One Simple Phrase + 5 TIps

May 3, 2021
Interview Series

There are two types of people in this world — (1) those who avoid negotiating salary, and (2) those who negotiate their salary. The first category will get paid less than they deserve while the latter will get paid what they deserve…and even beyond that.

Everyone loves more money, but few have a blueprint for getting more of it. Let me introduce you to one of the most powerful salary negotiation techniques that’s rarely used. When mastered, this strategy can add thousands to your yearly salary.

And you don't have to take our word for it: this phrase was learned from former FBI Director Chris Voss in his book "Never Split the Difference". Learn this technique by watching our 60-second video!

So why does asking ""How can I be involved in the strategic projects that are critical to the future of the company?" work?

Three things happen:

1. For starters, it's a great "how question": It immediately distinguishes you and transforms you in front of your boss and employer as someone who wants to guarantee their future with the company.

2. It gets you involved in those strategic projects that give you immediate visibility at the highest levels of the company: You become that go-to person that they trust: your career will move faster, more steadily, and more consistently.

3. Not only does it prepare you for success at the moment, but it's actually designed to prepare your negotiations for the following year. Now that you've been involved in all these strategic projects that have a huge impact on the company, your negotiation is laid out for you.

Sounds easy, right? Well we're not done giving you tips to negotiate your next salary!

Let’s define your salary range.

When you’re in the middle of negotiating a new salary or asking for a raise, you may be tempted to check what others in the same position are making. This is a good first step; however, you should also ask yourself these questions:

  1. Define your minimum salary goal: How much do you need to make monthly (take-home) and what would you accept if there was no better alternative around
  2. Define your mid-point salary goal: Research how much people in your experience level and in your location make. What does this mean for you?
  3. Define your high-point salary goal: That's the top amount of money you think you deserve to be paid.
  4. And like Goldilocks, we're looking for a salary that's not too high, not too low, but just right. With that in mind, let's toss out the minimum salary goal!

Your salary range is between your mid-point acceptable salary and your high-point acceptable salary. Use this salary range when talking to potential employers.

What you DON'T want to say when asked about your salary expectations

Let's play out a scenario: Does this sound like you?

You interview for a position in digital marketing at a high-growth start-up. You answered all the technical questions and nailed down the behavioral interview questions.
The entire interview panel unanimously agrees that you are the perfect match!
Then comes the question: "What are your salary expectations?"
Your heart starts pounding and you reply with... “Salary isn’t important to me. I'm here because I believe in your product,"...

Yea... so if this was you, we're here to tell you to never respond with that ever again, and we mean ever!

It's a terrible mistake to downplay your salary expectations because when you're starting out in a new job, it will often cause you to undervalue yourself.

You have to remember that your salary expectations are a tool you use in a job application. They're not for an employer to judge on but your own benchmark of what you feel is appropriate given the information you provide during a job interview.

Instead, try these responses instead:

How to negotiate the best starting salary

Remember, at the beginning of this blog we asked you to define your middle and high point salary. Well, here is where you want to use the information you have gathered to work!

During an interview, the hiring manager will no doubt ask you what your salary expectations are.

This is where you can introduce your potential employer to the range between "mid" and "high" point. Here's a sample answer:

After speaking with you and learning more about the position, I'm really excited about it. It’s a position that would use my skills to the fullest and help me to grow. I think I’d be a great fit for this role because: - [insert your pitches here]. My salary expectation is between [mid salary range] – [high salary range]. I believe that I can make a significant contribution to your organization. My goal is to work in an environment where I can constantly improve and use my skills and hopefully, if the opportunity was presented, I would be able to grow with your team as everyone seems to love working here!

How to negotiate a salary after the job offer is made, on the phone or during a zoom call

You’ve made it through an interview process that showed you were the best candidate. Congratulations! This means you are now into the negotiating phase of getting a job offer.

Although it's impossible to predict what will happen during your conversation with the recruiter, but here is an example answer you can use to kick off the salary negotiation and get a salary bump:

Thank you for the offer, and so I want to thank you and your team for taking the time to meet with me. I am very excited about your company and about moving forward. However, I’d like to have a friendly conversation about the compensation reflected in the offer. After researching similar roles, the cost of living in Toronto, and the compensation appropriate for someone with my experience and education, I was expecting an offer of around $90-100k.

This single paragraph could give you a significant pay rise.

But remember, you should be careful not to ask too much and leave a sour aftertaste in the mouth of HR managers. Besides, what most job seekers forget is that there is so much to negotiate outside of salary, including benefits, vacation days, continuing professional training, and other amazing perks!

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Takeaway: If you want to be recognized for the value you bring, ask for it!

Negotiate this into your offer from the start. Take responsibility to be involved in your future and that will help you feel more valuable and contribute more value.

Always ask "how" questions during the interview. It shows that you're not just answering a canned question from a list, but are actually interested in long-term engagement with the company you would work for.

If you're looking for more interview tips, make sure to grab a free copy of our "Turn Job Interviews into Job Offers" eBook.

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Still have questions about how to negotiate a salary?

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